To make sure boats on the inland waterways don’t get left behind in the country’s progress to zero CO2 emissions by 2050, Britain’s waterways need:
Investment in infrastructure
300 shore power mains connection charging sites across the connected inland waterways network should be installed. This number would be a starting point and investment on other waterways should follow. Having more charging sites would improve air quality by reducing the emissions from stoves for heating and engines run for charging batteries, as well as enabling a move towards more boats with electric propulsion.
National dredging programme
Working with navigation authorities, investment in a dredging programme across the inland waterways would make propulsion more efficient. This will also have additional environmental benefits on water quality and increasing capacity for flood waters.
Research into biofuels
Existing boats and engines can have lives of 50 years and more. Plus the manufacture of new engines causes greater ecological and environmental damage than a lifetime of running existing engines. Therefore research into the production, use and distribution of biofuels is essential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of existing diesel and petrol engines.
Alternative propulsion methods
Research and development of alternative forms of propulsion – including hydrogen production and distribution, hydrogen and solid oxide fuel cells and the use of supercapacitors – would allow these technologies to be developed and trialled in new build boats.
You can read more details in our Sustainable Boating Vision Paper.